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Seattle Sounders: MLS's Most Traveling Team
The Olympian, September 24th, 2009 4:15PM

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The Olympian gives a glimpse into Seattle Sounders FC's traveling lifestyle. Tucked away in the Northwest, the team will cover a league-high 46,898 miles this season. And like other MLS teams, it takes mostly commercial flights, which means that players must negotiate middle seats and cramped leg space like most other middle-class Americans. "It's a major difference," Freddie Ljunberg said of MLS transport compared to the Premier League in England. "In England, with Arsenal, we go private everywhere. We go to a private airstrip to a private plane and then you go to the hotel. It's very different here. But I knew that when I signed, and I'm trying to get used to it. But it's very, very different."

Although Seattle travels like every other team, it stays in comparatively nice hotels. On its current trip to New England players will stay at the Renaissance Boston Hotel & Spa at Patriots Place, an upper-end Marriott property. "The Sounders are definitely on the upper echelon," MLS veteran James Riley said of the team's hospitality arrangements. "They're definitely setting the standard. They definitely take care of us. The fact that we chartered to the Open Cup and stayed at the Ritz (Carlton) is unbelievable." League rules, however, allow only 15 rooms for a club's traveling party.

So most players share rooms. "Everybody has a roommate," Clark said. "That's not the case with every team in the league that has a designated player. Freddie's been great about roommates. They all double up; and I think they enjoy it, they enjoy the company. ... I'm always getting feedback from the players about, 'Hey I enjoyed rooming with so-and-so. Could I room with him again?' There's been no major issues at all."

Riley, the Sounders' representative to the MLS Players Union, says that besides more charter flights most MLS players want to amend their allotted meal budgets. Now, players get $8 for breakfast, $12 for lunch or $30 for dinner; and team meals get deducted from players' budgets. Most players want the MLS contract to mirror that of the United States national team, giving players $50 to spend how they like. Read the original story...


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